Decision time for Decision-Making - A preview

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Decision time for Decision-Making - A preview

This week,, is holding our second Decision Summit, this time in Cambridge, a city in the forefront of AI development. So why are we holding it here – and not in the United States? In my view – and I’ve worked in tech for more than 20 years – Europe is currently the most exciting and most vibrant environment for tech and AI. We have the best people, the best brain-power. But we also have a problem – a problem that we should not hesitate in addressing.

In Europe, what we are missing is confidence. There is a woeful lack of confidence in European tech companies – we aren’t always dynamic enough, we don’t have enough self-belief. We need to get that confidence back and show the rest of the world what we can achieve.

This lack of confidence is something we’ve always suffered from.

Over the last century, Britain and Europe led the world in new technologies, from the jet-engine to the World Wide Web. But somewhere along the way, we were consumed with self-doubt: often we have lost control of the very innovations that marked us out in the first place.

In Britain and Europe, we appear to be anxious about the future of AI – its ethical implications, its effect on all our lives. And that anxiety is holding us back commercially, economically and even politically - in spite of the fact that our AI research and development, especially here in Cambridge is peerless.

In Europe we are streets ahead in terms of AI research, but we don’t have the entrepreneurial and business leadership to develop it properly. And that’s what we at are trying to change. At the moment, if European companies are presented with an idea, they will say “Prove that it works to the nth degree and we might think about doing something about it”. By contrast, if someone comes to Silicon Valley with a proposal, the reaction is much more positive – they say, “That’s an interesting idea, let’s give it a shot”. Precisely the kind of approach that I’d like to see here in Europe. And in Cambridge at least I think we are getting there.

I am incredibly confident that this European dream will be realised. If I were not, I would not be living in Cambridge, a city that is at the heart of tech and especially AI. I had a choice. I could have left for Silicon Valley but I chose Cambridge. We have great ideas, and great people to execute them. So, the message I want to get across, the message coming out of this Summit, is simple - we want to get UK & European companies to rediscover their confidence, push forward and claim what is rightly ours. We need to convince ourselves, our businesses, our politicians that we, here in Britain and Europe have the capacity to become an AI superpower. Our competitors will have no hesitation in thinking the same – but can they put thoughts into action? Let us see what unfolds. I for one – and I know that many of those attending our Summit over the next couple of days share my optimism – can only relish the challenge.

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